Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Bunch of Beauty Product Reviews!

I'm constantly trying out new beauty products.  I probably have used a lot more than I've blogged about.  Today I thought I'd consolidate them into a single post to show some of the products I've tried in the past few months.  There are some great products I've found, and some that I think are overly hyped.  I'll group them by function!

Makeup - Face

This is a relatively new purchase that I've only had for a couple weeks, but I picked up a MAC Cosmetics holiday brush set from Nordstrom - the "Keepsakes - in extra dimension" Double Sided Brush Kit.  This set comes with 4 brushes: 1 for cheek, 1 for face, and 2 for eyes.  The brushes are double sided with one side natural hair and one side synthetic.  The sales girl told me the idea behind the double side is for example, use one side for a liquid foundation and use the other side for powder.  Voila, 2 in 1.  I tend to use my fingers to put on BB Cream or liquid foundation though, so I don't really need the double sided brushes.  I got this set because I wanted a travel set and this set covers face and eyes.  The case it comes with is a sparkly black, which is large enough to hold MAC's full sized brushes.  I have invested in some essential full sized MAC brushes in the past, so I like that this case will hold them all.  I find that the cheek and face brushes from this set are pretty good.  I actually really like the cheek brush for contouring.  But the eye brushes don't feel as good as the full sized ones.  They are less soft, I guess.  But they are still better than your average makeup brushes, and great for traveling.  Price is great, 4 for $52 plus a pretty case.  They also have 2 other sets like this, consisting of different brushes.

MAC Cosmetics Cream Colour Base is actually an item I've owned for years.  It's a cream base that you can use in every area of your face.  You can use it for highlighting/contouring, or you can use it as an eyeshadow base.  I've had the pearl color for highlighting / eyeshadow base for YEARS.  I've recently got the taupe color for contouring.  It works really well because although it looks dark, it doesn't go on super strong and it blends SO easily.  I like playing with contouring for special occasions.  I don't have time for that on a daily basis.

I had been wanting a new powder for a while and I decided to try the Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation.  I didn't think I liked it in the beginning, because the coverage was kind of light for what I'm used to.  I've been using Laura Mercier's Mineral Pressed Powder for a long time and that one goes on immediately and provides really good coverage, sometimes even too high.  But the reason I wanted to try a new one was because it makes my skin oily after a few hours.  The Too Faced Cocoa Powder mattifies really well and I notice a big difference.  I don't need to dab my skin throughout the day at all.  The coverage can be built up a bit if you just apply more.  But my bf says he likes the more natural look, and I'd have to agree.  Oh yeah, this one smells like cocoa!  Not sure if that's a good thing that you want to eat your makeup lol.

Makeup - Eyes

Not sure if this belongs in the makeup section, but I'll throw it in.  I've been using Latisse for the past 2.5 months.  I used to get lash extensions but after years of getting them, my real lashes were getting real weak and thin.  So I stopped and got Latisse!  Similar to many people's experience, after 2.5 months, I've found that they did dramatically lengthen my lashes.  However, they did not make them fuller or thicker.  At least, not dramatically enough for me to notice so that's a "no" in my books lol.  I have been using one drop for both eyes every night without skipping.  After maybe a month or 6 weeks, I started noticing the length coming in.  But different areas came in at different rates.  My outer lashes became longer first whereas the middle ones came in later.  The lashes were also thinner and weaker at first.  When I would use my lash curler and then apply mascara, the tip of the lashes would kind of droop down.  That was the awkward stage.  Now it's much better and I love how they look.  I'm at "maintenance mode" now, which means I can just use it every 2-3 nights instead of every night.

Oh, I do have to mention that during the first week or so of using it, I thought it was giving me dark under eye circles making me look like a racoon.  I was freaked out, because I rather have short lashes than dark eye circles!  But I think what happened was that I used to put it on and then go to sleep immediately.  During sleep, my eyes probably watered which caused the product to run.  I called the doc's office where I got my prescription, and they said I could just use it in the morning instead.  I didn't feel that comfortable doing that either, since I didn't want to put makeup on over that.  So what I started to do was to just use it about an hour before I went to bed.  I didn't notice any more dark eye circle since then.

I have to share this gem - the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara.  This little mascara is so amazing, I think you need to get it right now!  It's only $10 and it's tiny.  It's like, smaller than a travel sized mascara.  The little wand is meant for bottom lashes only, but you can use it for the corners or hard-to-get-to areas of your upper lashes as well.  After using this mascara, you will notice little bottom lashes you never knew existed lol.  It gives such an eye-opening kind of look.  Very different from using a regular sized mascara on bottom lashes.  You have to try it to understand.  It also never smudges, though a bit hard to remove.  You have to use some kind of makeup remover.

The only "con" I can think of is that it doesn't last that long.  I only use it on my bottom lashes everyday, and the little thing lasted maybe 1.5 months before having to replace.  But I don't really mind since it IS small so that's expected.  And it's only $10.  You can just buy 2 or 3 at a time so you don't have to re-order all the time.

After hearing a lot of hype about the Benefit They're Real mascara, I decided to try it out too.  I got the travel size, which is $10 as well.  It's ok I think.  Not as amazing as I thought it would be.  The brush does a good job of separating the lashes though, and I think they do make the lashes look longer.  Just not fuller.  However, you can reapply multiple coats without getting the caked-on look.  It does smudge on me a couple times throughout the day as well.  

After trying out Benefits, I moved onto the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara.  I think this one is also pretty over hyped.  While it gives a fuller look than the Benefits mascara, it also smudges a lot more.  I seriously have to clean up the bottom of my eye every couple hours.  And as I mentioned above, I only use it on my upper lashes since I use the Clinique one for bottom lashes.  So I won't be buying this again.  

I find it really hard to find a good, creamy pencil eyeliner.  I got the Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged eyeliner, and I'm pretty happy so far!  It glides on super easily, and it doesn't smudge or wear off.  It's very pigmented, so you get the dark black look.  It comes in lots of other colors, but I only have the black one.  Prior to this one, I used the MAC eye pencil which is very good too.  One pencil lasted me so many years.  I only use it for the waterline though.

Since I love lashes, I'm always drawn to false lashes.  I have used MAC, Shu Uemura, Makeup Forever, and random Japanese brands.  But I got a few House of Lashes faux lashes a while ago, and they are very good especially considering the price!  They are less than $10 for most designs.  I got Iconic (super dramatic, probably too much for me), Feline (still dramatic but not as much) and Au Naturale (even these are super long).  They are definitely meant for special occasions for me.  

From top to bottom:  Au Naturale, Feline, and Iconic


I finally decided to try Glamglow - the mud mask that everyone raves about.  I got both the Supermud and the Youthmud.  They sure are expensive for how small they are.  The Supermud does make my face feel cleaner and softer.  When it dries, it's supposed to show you the impurities it pulls out of your skin which is kind of gross yet kind of fun.  It always pulls more around my nose area which is great.  I do feel that my complexions looks more even afterwards.  But the difference is subtle, not so miraculous like many claim.  Maybe I need to use it more regularly?  I've been using it once a week for like 5-6 times (you are supposed to notice results even after the first use).

I got the Youthmud in the tester size, which is $20.  I'm glad I did because I don't really think this one does anything differently than a scrub.  It's also a mud mask that you put on, but when you wash it off, it becomes a scrub.  It sounds like a fun idea.  But then I realize that I can just use my trusted Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion scrub and it is much cheaper and less time consuming.

I've been using the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Eye Contoure cream every night before going to bed.  It's super creamy and keeps the eye area hydrated.  But I feel like it may be TOO creamy.  I don't even want to sleep on my side because I don't want the product to rub off on my pillow.  I also don't know if it actually helps with reducing wrinkles.  But really, does any eye cream?  I think the point is to just keep the area moist, rather than expecting miracles lol.  For that, this product works fine, but I might try out a new one soon.  I received a sample of Kiehl's eye cream the other day and so far really like it.  I feel like my skin absorbs it rather than just having it sit on top.

The Shiseido IBUKI Softening Concentrate is really awesome though.  This is supposed to be the step after toner.  So you wash your face, use your toner, use this softening concentrate, then lotion.  But I find that I can skip the lotion.  I don't usually like lotion because I hate the greasy feeling.  This product keeps my face moist but it's not creamy at all and gets absorbed super easily.  The consistency is very liquid, and it is clear.  I love this.  

I think you can't really go that wrong with any Shiseido products.  I recently bought my bf the Shiseido Revitalizing Regimen for Men and he loves it.  This comes from someone who barely washes his face lol.  Why do all men do this???  But anyway, it's a great gift set and great value.  It will last for a long time, and the case it comes with is great for storage or travel.  It's a really great gift for the men in your life!  But it seems to be sold out everywhere now.  Maybe they will get restocked...


I hate having to reapply nail polish every few days because they chip off.  I don't want to get gel nails because I hear it's bad for the nails and it lasts too long that it looks bad when your nails grow out on the bottom.  So I decided to try the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish.  It's supposed to last 2 weeks like gel, but you don't have to use the UV light.  You just apply like regular nail polish.  I actually do like this line.  The colors are more muted, kind of like paint rather than shiny nail polish.  They dry super fast.  Then you apply the top coat which acts like the "gel".  They don't last 2 weeks though.  More like 5 days.  But that's already much better than every other day!  When it starts to fall off, it chips off in large pieces.  I'm happy with it.  I have 2 colors so far but only because Target is always sold out in the colors I want.  I also have the top coat of course.

The top coat is pretty good and I've used it on other brand's nail polishes too.  But I think it's meant to work with the Miracle Gel line.  On top of other nail polish brands, it doesn't work as well as the Seche Vite.  This one has the worst chemical smell but works like a charm lol.  Just check out the thousands of good reviews online.  It dries almost instantly which is soooo nice.  I can literally go do dishes after applying it.  But the smell cannot be good for you on a regular bases.

This one is kind of fun - the OPI Matte Top Coat.  Basically after you apply any nail polish, you can make it look matte by applying this matte top coat.  It makes the colors look completely different and velvety.  It's really fun to watch it dry in front of your eyes and the color changes so quickly!  But it chips SO easily.  Barely lasts a day.

Lastly, I have to share this awesome Sephora Nail Polish Remover.  It's thing bottom with sponge on the inside that is soaked in nail polish remover.  You stick each finger into the middle of the sponge, kind of wiggle it around for a couple seconds, and take it back out and the nail polish is completely removed!  It's amazing.  It works on even the nail polishes with sparkly stuff on them.  You may have to do it multiple times for those though.  But for regular polishes (even the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish), it comes off instantly and makes removing polish so much fun.  My only complain is that they don't have one for the toe nails - I tried sticking my toes into the bottle, it's really hard because the spongey hole is too low for toe nails to reach... lol!

And that's everything I wanted to share so far!  I will likely consolidate more products into later posts, but I hope this was somewhat useful!  =)

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  1. Thanks so much for the product reviews and sharing your awesome finds!!! I love the Clinque Bottom Lash Mascara - definitely picking that up. Also, I had no idea OPI had a matte coat. I'm a huge polish lover and will definitely be picking this up as well. I really enjoy the skincare reviews btw. I remember your sunscreen review post from some time ago and I found that super helpful.

  2. RE: false eyelashes - Daiso! $1.50. My faves are #2, natural length cross lashes. Also zoya nail polish remover. :) For fuller lashes, you might like Benefit's Bad Gal. I used that for years until they came out with They're Real and I prefer that for day to day. Diorshow, Eyeko and Tarte were all just meh to me. - Tracy

  3. Thanks for the review on Clinque bottom lash mascara! Looking forward to trying it. For fake eyelashes, I like Princess Lee's


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